Archive for February, 2018

Modernization and the Public

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Re: Yes, Auckland is congested

As a student and recorder of Auckland’s transport history, I am rarely surprised by the many topics and concepts, often referred to by the contributors to Greater Auckland, that are repeats of the observations and concerns of past commentators. The final sentence of Matt L’s post: “Getting the communications right on this might be half the battle…” reminded me of a lengthy article published by New Zealand Engineering on 15 June 1954. It was written by J W F Welch who was then the Chief Engineer of the Auckland Transport Board:

“Modernization and the Public

“The importance of establishing a good public relations service should not be overlooked when embarking upon any modernization plan which alters the travel habits of the public. It is a curious but nevertheless well-known fact in transport circles that no other industry is so sensitive to or subject to such adverse criticism of any changes as the transportation of the public. These observations apply to the industry as a whole, but the criticism seems to become more intensified when the transport system is municipally or state-controlled. There is considerable conservatism to be found among users of transport, and they do abhor any change.

“Every time methods of transport are altered there appears the usual spate of criticism, whether it be conveyed by letter or in person, and the only comfort a transport manager can derive in this regard is to read the newspaper files of happenings which occurred about the turn of the century and to note that the fathers and mothers of those who are now so loud in their protestations also had similar things to say when horse trams were replaced by the new-fangled electric trams for which a very gloomy future was prophesied.

“Before the motor car became an important factor in the problem of street congestion, public transport could proceed through city streets almost without hindrance, and passengers could alight from, or board, public transport almost at their place of business. Today, however, almost half of the travelling time to a distant suburb is occupied in traversing the city section, where congestion and delays at intersections account for the prolonged overall time of the journey…”